Tuesday, 12 December ‘23

This week’s overview of key events and links to essential reading.

Tuesday, 12 December ‘23

This week’s overview of key events and links to essential reading.

Tuesday, 12 December, 2023
IWPR

IWPR

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

US Indicts Four in Landmark Case

The US has indicted four military personnel with ties to Russia for the torture and ill-treatment of an American citizen, the first such case in connection with Russian aggression within the jurisdiction of foreign countries. It is also the first prosecution under the US War Crimes Act.

Four people are accused of abducting the victim from a house in the village of Mylove, Kherson region in April 2022. The man was illegally detained for ten days and tortured, threatened with sexual violence and forced to undergo mock executions.

Occupation Commandant of Melitopol Sentenced for War Crimes

On November 22, the Zaporizhzhia Communarsky District Court sentenced the occupation commandant of Melitopol, 46-year-old Serhiy Semenchatenko, to 12 years in prison in absentia for violating the laws and customs of war (Part 2 of Article 28, Part 1 of Article 438 of the criminal code of Ukraine). Semenchatenko, a Russian citizen, is the commander of the tactical group of the 22nd Separate Order of the Zhukov Brigade of Operational Purposes, Military Police No. 3642 of the Russian Guard. He was tried for the kidnapping, illegal imprisonment and brutal treatment of a civilian resident of Melitopol in the spring of 2022.

The case was considered behind closed doors at the request of the victim and witnesses as their relatives remain in occupied territory. This means that the text of the verdict in the court register cannot be published. The verdict can be appealed within 30 days.

Crimean "Senator" Sentenced

On November 29, the Holosiiv District Court of Kyiv sentenced in absentia the Crimean "senator" (the former title of the position was a member of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation from the occupying power of the Republic of Crimea) to 11 years in prison with confiscation of property. The court found her guilty of collaborative activities (Part 6 of Article 111-1 of the Criminal Code) and justification of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, glorification of its participants (Part 3 of Article 436-2 of the Criminal Code). She appeared in Russian propaganda media, where she publicly supported Russia's actions and called the war in Ukraine "saving the population from fascist ideology." Kovitidi is a citizen of Ukraine, a former deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea (2006-2014).

The verdict can be appealed within 30 days. According to the prosecutor's office, the indictment in another case of Kovitidi committing treason is in court.

Appeals Against Convictions Continue

The Chernihiv Court of Appeal upheld the verdict against Russian military officer Alexander Dudarev for the abuse of a civilian during the occupation of the village of Lukashivka in March 2022.

On August 28, the Chernihiv District Court sentenced him in absentia to 12 years in prison for brutal treatment of a civilian (Part 1, Article 438 of the criminal code). According to the prosecutor's office, Dudarev beat a local in order to obtain information about the location of the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and his accomplice shot him in the leg.

Other appeals pending include the case of Pavlo Grebenyuk, convicted of abusing civilians (part 1 of Article 438 of the criminal code). On October 10, the Saksagansky District Court of Kryvyi Rih sentenced him to 15 years. Grebenyuk, who did not admit his guilt, appealed and the Dnipro Court of Appeal of Kryvyi Rih will consider the complaint on December 26.

In addition, the defense of exchanged Russian pilot Oleksandr Krasnoyartsev appealed against the verdict of the Novozavodsky Court of Chernihiv which found him guilty of murdering a Chernihiv resident in March 2022.  On October 26, Krasnoyartsev was sentenced in absentia for part 2 of Art 438 concerning the violation of the laws and customs of war to up to 14 years in prison. The Chernihiv Court of Appeal has scheduled his hearing for January 22, 2024.

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